ATV loans can help you afford the cost of an all-terrain vehicle. If you decide to get an ATV loan, it's important to consider all your financing options, including 0% APR credit cards as well as personal loans from banks, credit unions, or online lenders.
ATVs, or all-terrain vehicles, are recreational vehicles with low-pressure tires, a handlebar, and a straddle seat. Also known as quad bikes, three-wheelers, and four-wheelers, ATVs are usually intended for one or two riders and are meant for off-road powersports. ATVs can be easier to handle than dirt bikes or motorcycles thanks to their extra wheels, but they aren’t street legal in the United States.
On this page:
- Buying an ATV
- How to Find ATV Financing
- Using an ATV Loan for Your Purchase
- Paying for an ATV With Credit Cards
- Retailer Financing
Buying an ATV
ATVs are very popular in the U.S., with the ATV industry seeing revenue of around $6 billion in 2018. With new ATV prices typically ranging between $8,000 and $19,000, it’s no surprise ATV manufacturers including John Deere, Polaris, Honda, and Yamaha have substantial annual earnings. Unfortunately, the high prices of both new and used ATVs mean that many buyers have to borrow to buy their all-terrain vehicle.
If you’ll need ATV financing, you have a few options to consider, each of which has its own pros and cons. This guide will help you decide on the best way to fund the purchase of your off-road vehicle so you can hit the trails with a great ATV and as much money as possible left in your pocket.
How to Find ATV Financing
Paying cash for an ATV is always the preferred approach because whenever you finance an ATV, you typically must pay an annual percentage rate (APR) on the loan amount. However, if you must borrow, you have a few options to consider. These include:
- A vehicle loan or ATV loan issued by a bank, credit union, or online lender
- Retailer financing obtained through the store where you buy your ATV
- 0% APR credit cards
When you decide which of these options is the right one, look at the big picture to assess total costs. Consider any up-front fees to obtain the loan, the interest rate you pay, the monthly payment and loan term, and the qualifying process. When you compare ATV loans with all of these factors in mind, you can get a loan that’s affordable on a monthly basis and minimizes the total interest you pay over the life of the loan.
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Using an ATV Loan for Your Purchase
A personal loan can be an affordable financing option for an ATV. Although there are dedicated ATV loans, you can also just get a general personal loan. Personal loan funds can be used for anything you want, so the lender won’t care that you’re using the funds to buy an ATV.
You can obtain personal loans from many lenders, including your local bank, a national bank, local or national credit unions, peer-to-peer lending networks such as Prosper or LendingTree, or online-only lenders such as LightStream.
Personal loans can have fixed or variable interest rates, depending upon the lender. Variable rates are generally a bit lower than fixed-rate loans when you first secure financing, but since rates are tied to a financial index, they can sometimes rise and cause your monthly loan payments to increase. Fixed rate loans provide more certainty, as you pay one rate for the life of the loan, and your monthly payments never change.
Advantages of Financing With an ATV Loan
If you’re thinking of using a personal loan to finance an ATV, you should consider some of the big advantages of this approach.
First and foremost, the interest rate you’ll pay on a personal loan for an ATV is typically lower than the rate on a credit card unless you can qualify for a special promotional APR on a card. However, personal loan rates may be higher than rates offered by ATV dealers who provide loans secured by your vehicle — especially if the dealer is running an interest rate promotion.
Easy to Obtain
Another advantage is that personal loans can be easy to qualify for if your credit is at least fair. And you can usually obtain funds within around a week, so you can buy your ATV quickly. Plus, most personal loans are unsecured, which means that you don’t pledge the ATV as collateral to guarantee the loan.
Because a personal loan has a fixed repayment term (usually around one to five years), you’ll know exactly when you’ll have your loan repaid—unlike if you charge your ATV on a credit card where there’s more flexibility in your payment schedule.
Disadvantages of Financing With an ATV Loan
While there are some benefits of getting a personal loan, there are downsides too.
This option could be more expensive than certain alternatives, such as dealer financing or using a credit card with a 0% promotional rate. It could also take longer to obtain funds than if you apply for a loan directly through the dealer or just charge the ATV on your credit card. When you’re in a hurry to buy an ATV, you may not want to wait.
You’ll also need to apply directly with personal loan lenders to obtain financing, which adds an extra step to your purchase that you don’t have to worry about with dealer financing or when using a credit card you already have. And unless you have fair, good, or excellent credit, you may not be approved for a personal loan or may have to pay a substantial amount of interest.
Who Is an ATV Loan Best For?
The low rates, speed of funding, and myriad options for different lenders make personal loans an alternative worth considering for well-qualified borrowers who can get the best personal loan rates. This is especially true if you don’t want or can’t obtain attractive dealer financing and you don’t want to max out a credit card to buy your off-road vehicle.
However, before you take out a personal loan for an ATV, be sure to compare financing offers from your ATV dealer and see if any of your credit cards are offering special promotions that would allow you to avoid paying interest on your purchase.
Personal Loans You Can Use to Finance an ATV
You have many options for personal loans to finance your ATV, including dedicated ATV loans as well as general use personal loans. Some of the options to consider include:
- ATV Loans from Keesler Federal Credit Union: These loans start as low as 3.24% APR for new ATV loans. You have a choice of repayment terms up to 60 months, and you can finance up to 100% of the price of the ATV plus tax, title fees, and an extended warranty.
- Specialty Vehicle Loans from LightStream: With a LightStream loan you can borrow any amount ranging between $5,000 and $100,000. Potential APRs range from 3.34% to 16.99% for customers who set up autopay, and there are no origination fees or prepayment penalties. Repayment periods range from 24 months to 144 months, and you have your choice of repayment terms when applying for a loan.
- Motorcycle Loans & ATV Loans from OneMain Financial: OneMain Financial allows you to apply online within minutes and borrow anywhere from $1,500 to $30,000. You can buy a new or used ATV or motorcycle or can even use loan funds for maintenance and repair of an existing ATV or for gear and apparel. You’ll have a choice of 24-, 36-, 48-, or 60-month for repayment, and the APR ranges from 16.05% to 35.99%.
Paying for an ATV With Credit Cards
Using a credit card is a different way to buy an ATV. You can use an existing card, provided you have enough available credit to cover the ATV cost. You can also obtain a new credit card you use specifically to buy your ATV. Whichever approach you choose, you’ll need to understand the pros and cons of charging an off-roading vehicle on a credit card.
Advantages of Financing an ATV With Credit Cards
Financing an ATV with credit cards is often the simplest approach because credit card application processes are usually much easier than applying for a personal loan or even a loan with a retailer. Most creditors offer instant approval when you apply online, so you can get your card right away.
Many credit cards also offer a special introductory interest rate, such as 0% on purchases for 12 to 18 months. For example, the Citi Simplicity card offers a 0% APR for the first 12 months on purchases you make and 21 months on balances you transfer to the card.
If you can get a 0% APR credit card and pay off your ATV loan before the promotional rate expires, you could avoid paying any interest at all on your ATV loan. This would make the loan much more affordable. And if you use a rewards credit card, you could net additional benefits as well.
The Disadvantages of Financing an ATV With Credit Cards
While there are clear advantages to credit cards, you can’t overlook the downsides.
One issue is that you may not be able to get a 0% promotional rate or may not be able to pay off the loan amount before the 0% rate expires. If that’s the case, credit cards would generally be the most expensive option because credit card interest rates are typically much higher than personal loan rates or rates you’d get on a loan from an ATV dealer.
You may also not get approved for a credit card with a large enough line of credit to cover your ATV costs. And if you maxed out a card by charging an ATV, this could hurt your credit score, since you’re penalized if you use more than 30% of your available credit.
Who Are Credit Cards Good For?
Credit cards are a great choice for ATV financing if you can qualify for a 0% promotional APR, can get a large enough line of credit to pay for the ATV, and can pay off the amount you borrowed before your promotional rate expires. If all these things aren’t true, look elsewhere for financing, because charging your ATV will simply be too expensive.
No-Interest Credit Cards to Finance an ATV
If you’re looking for a 0% APR credit card to finance an ATV and pay no interest, here are a few good options:
- Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express: This card has a 0% introductory APR for purchases for the first 15 months, after which your APR will be between 15.24% and 26.24%. There is no annual membership fee, and you can earn $200 if you make $1,000 in purchases during the first three months of opening the card.
- Quicksilver from Capital One: This card also provides a 0% APR for 15 months, after which time the rate will rise to 15.24% to 25.24%. New cardholders will receive a $150 cash bonus after making $500 in purchases within the first three months of opening the account. This card also has no annual fee.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: Like the other cards, this one has no annual fee and a 0% APR for 15 months, after which you’ll be charged a variable APR of 16.99% to 25.74%.
Finally, your dealer or ATV retailer may also offer in-house financing to buy your all-terrain vehicle. This financing may be done directly through the dealer’s financing arm if they have one, or through third-party lenders the dealer has partnered with.
Dealers aim to make the process of securing financing easy, but this doesn’t mean it’s always the best option to pay for your ATV, so be sure to compare this approach with other sources of funds.
Advantages of Financing an ATV With Retailer Financing
Retailer financing has some significant advantages for ATV buyers.
For one thing, the process is usually simple. If your retailer offers the ability to obtain an ATV loan, they’ll help you take care of the paperwork right in the store. You won’t have to submit a separate loan application.
It’s often possible to get approved the same day you’re shopping for financing, and you may also be eligible for low promotional rates that could be as low as 0% APR for a limited time.
The Disadvantages of Retailer Financing
While retailer financing may be a simple and easy type of financing, it’s not the right choice for everyone because of the disadvantages.
One potential disadvantage is that the cost of the loan could be high for some borrowers. Your rate — and whether you can qualify for any promotional rates — is determined by your credit score. If you don’t have good credit, you may not be able to obtain a loan, or the retailer financing may come with a very high interest rate.
Not all retailers will be willing to finance your ATV either. Plus, when you obtain retailer financing, the ATV typically acts as collateral and the loan is secured. So if you don’t pay back what you owe, it’s easy for the lender to repossess the ATV, leaving you without your off-road vehicle and sometimes out a lot of money.
Who Is Retail Financing Good For?
Retail financing is good for you if your dealer offers it and if you can qualify for favorable rates. Be sure to look beyond just the monthly payment, because some retailers will offer you a loan with a very long repayment timeline. While this makes your monthly payment appear low so the loan looks affordable, this could mean you pay interest for much longer—which means your total costs of repayment over time are much greater.
Bottom Line: ATV Loans Are Available, But You’ll Pay for the Privilege of Borrowing
As you can see, you have multiple options for ATV loans. The right one will depend upon the specific rates and terms you can qualify for from personal loan lenders, credit card issuers, and your ATV dealer. Be sure to compare all of your options before you buy so you don’t pay more in interest than necessary on your all-terrain vehicle.
*Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 9.34% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $319.58. LightStream disclosures here.
Author: Christy Rakoczy
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